Festival rubbish at record low

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2005, 12:00am

Revellers dump less at public places, but the problem of littering has got worse

Some say it was the poor weather, others say it was increased environmental awareness.

Whatever the reason, cleaners and morning joggers were pleased to find a record low amount of rubbish left by Mid-Autumn Festival revellers this year.

A total of 112.2 tonnes of rubbish was collected at Leisure and Cultural Services Department venues over the weekend, compared with 158.65 tonnes for the same period last year.

Only 3.5 tonnes of rubbish was collected from Victoria Park, compared with 11.3 tonnes last year.

But the problem of littering has worsened, with the amount of refuse collected from the ground increasing from 0.3 tonnes last year to 0.5 tonnes.

Rubbish dumped on beaches also dropped - from 48.67 tonnes to 44.89 tonnes. On the Avenue of Stars, there was 1.42 tonnes of litter, down from 1.58 tonnes. But no littering fines were issued, compared with one last year.

Keith Kwok Ka-keung, permanent secretary for environment, transport and works, said the findings indicated the public was increasingly aware of the importance of protecting their environment.

'We had had a very clean Mid-Autumn Festival this year. We found that the amount of rubbish and food left behind by revellers in the countryside is significantly smaller than last year,' he said.

A leisure department spokeswoman pointed out that rain on Sunday had affected the turnout at public venues and could have played a part in the drop in rubbish.

Hahn Chu Hon-keung, environmental affairs manager of Friends of the Earth, said the amount of rubbish collected had fallen consistently in recent years.

'Definitely, the government and green groups have put more effort into raising public environmental awareness. However, it remains worrying to see that the problem of littering in Victoria Park did not improve, although the number of revellers this year was much smaller than last year,' he said.

Between Saturday and yesterday morning, 11 people were admitted to hospital with wax-burning injuries. Three remained in stable condition in hospital.

No one was prosecuted for wax-burning, compared with nine last year. The number of verbal warnings also fell from 3,807 last year to 2,291.